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From ASNE: "Our Industry Isn't Making Progress"

The percentage of journalists of color in newspaper and online newsrooms declined from 13.34 percent to 12.76 percent, the American Society of News Editors reported Tuesday, with the percentages down among Asian Americans, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, but a slight increase among those identifying as multiracial [PDF].

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"The fact that our industry isn't making progress continues to be frustrating," said Karen Magnuson, editor of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle and co-chair of the ASNE Diversifying the News Committee, in a news release.

"As the makeup of our nation changes, our news reports must change, as well. Our newsrooms and coverage must be inclusive to tell the real story of what is really happening in our communities. How can we do that well if our newsrooms lack diverse voices and perspectives? We editors can and should do better."

Overall, the survey found, 32,900 full-time journalists work at nearly 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States — a 3,800-person decrease from 36,700 in 2013. 

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ASNE noted that "the percentage of minority journalists has hovered between 12 and 14 percent for more than a decade. In 1978, when ASNE launched its Newsroom Employment Census of professional full-time journalists, 3.95 percent were minorities."

ASNE President Chris Peck, associate editor of the Riverton (Wyo.) Ranger, said in the news release, "ASNE understands the importance of reporting on an increasingly diverse America and is committed to finding new ways to ensure that diverse voices and perspectives are reflected in traditional and digital media." 

The announcement also said, "ASNE also surveyed online-only news sites; minorities made up about 19.2 percent of the workforce at the 47 organizations that responded. . . ." However, the organization added, "Although the online-only census obtained minority percentages at each of the surveyed organizations that responded, the number of online news organization participants is too small for their collective profile to be analyzed further."

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ASNE has set a goal of matching the percentage of journalists of color in newsrooms with the percentage of people of color in the nation.

In census figures for 2010, Hispanics or Latinos were 16.3 percent of the U.S. population. They are 4.19 percent in the ASNE survey, down from 4.46 percent in 2014.

Blacks or African Americans were 12.6 percent of the U.S. population; 4.74 percent in the ASNE survey, down from 4.78 percent in 2014.

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Asians were 4.8 percent of the U.S. population and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander were 0.2 percent. Asian Americans were 2.8 percent in the ASNE survey, down from 3.1 percent in 2014.

Native Americans or Alaska Natives are 0.9 percent of the population; Native Americans were 0.36 percent in the ASNE survey, down from 0.40 percent in 2010.

The Census counted 6.2 percent as "some other race" and 2.9 percent as two or more races. ASNE counted 0.56 percent as multiracial, up from 0.53 percent. Hispanics may be of any race.

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ASNE added, "Recognizing that the equity goal, set in 1978 and reaffirmed in 2000, is unlikely to be met, ASNE launched a number of initiatives focused on improving diversity in leadership and coverage.

"In 2012, the ASNE Diversity Committee created the Minority Leadership Institute to train and develop up-and-coming, mid-level newsroom leaders and connect them with a network of established ASNE leaders.

"ASNE has hosted six institutes since the first one in 2012. This year, the first institute will be during the National Association of Black Journalists Convention & Career Fair Aug. 6-7 in Minneapolis, followed by the second one prior to the Excellence in Journalism conference Sept. 17-18 in Orlando by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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"The last institute of 2015 will be prior to the ASNE conference with the Associated Press Media Editors Oct. 15-16 in Palo Alto.

"In addition, ASNE has focused more heavily on diversity through community engagement in the past few years by partnering with Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit that convenes conversations to foster collaboration, innovation and action so that a diverse news and information ecosystem can thrive. . . ."

Find the diversity figures for your newspaper (PDF)

Little Progress, Some Retrenchment in TV, Radio News (July 20)

A Journalists Service Corps? (June 15)

Local News Still "Root" of Operation at Washington Post (June 17)

New York Magazine Features 35 Women, Empty Chair

"New York magazine's cover photograph of 35 women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault — the largest such picture of the dozens of women who have alleged that he drugged and raped them — has sparked a global conversation on rape and shame," Jessica Glenza reported Monday for the Guardian.

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"But it was the women who were not pictured, embodied by a lone seat in the corner of the powerful photo, that spawned the #TheEmptyChair hashtag. The tag became a public discussion of who reports rape, who does not, who is believed and who isn't.

"Photographer Amanda Demme spent six months photographing dozens of the women, all in the same chair. But since 46 women have publicly accused Cosby of rape or assault, there are at least 11 more who didn't appear in the photograph.

" '#TheEmptyChair isn't big enough to fit all the people who have been raped, unheard and shamed,' tweeted the activist Charlene Carruthers.

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"The chair 'signals the women who couldn't come forward mostly [because] we, as a culture, wouldn't believe them,' the activist and writer Janet Mock tweeted."

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow tweeted, "Once at a large church a woman said the spirit told her someone there had been raped. Crying men and women streamed forward."

Writer and publisher Elon James White tweeted that he'd received a "direct message": "I'm a lawyer. I'm supposed to defend the victim. I'm not supposed to be the victim."

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The Guardian story continued, "Last week Cosby filed a motion in court against Andrea Constand, his first accuser who has alleged he tricked her into taking drugs before an assault.

"The case has been settled, but Cosby has called Constand’s request to open the settlement to public scrutiny an 'obvious attempt to smear'.

"Cosby's motion, referring to a recently released deposition, said he had 'admitted to nothing more than being one of the many people who introduced Quaaludes into their consensual sex life in the 1970s.'

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"Constand did not participate in the New York magazine cover story.

"Many of the women who repeated their Cosby allegations to New York magazine went public decades ago, but were derided by the media. A pattern of media reversal on the allegations against Cosby continued Monday after the accusers' stories were printed.

"Last fall, a wave of new accusers began to speak out. However, contrary to years prior, the allegations caused shock. . . .

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"In addition to the cover story that appeared in print, New York magazine published audio interviews of women who accuse Cosby of drugging and raping them. . . ."

Katie Couric with Jewel Allison and Jody Quon, Yahoo News: Cosby's 35 rape accusers speak

Sydney Ember, New York Times: New York Magazine Fixes Tech Problems as Bill Cosby Article Circulates

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Matt Giles and Nate Jones, Vulture: A Timeline of the Abuse Charges Against Bill Cosby

Steven Hoffer, Huffington Post: New York Daily News Calls Bill Cosby 'America's Rapist'

Gwen Ifill with Noreen Malone and Joyce Emmons: Women accusing Bill Cosby of assault speak out with similar stories

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Noreen Malone and Amanda Demme, New York: 'I'm No Longer Afraid': 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn't Listen

Wyatt Massey, CNN: Cosby cover sparks #TheEmptyChair discussion

Obama Urges Ethiopia to Curb Crackdowns on Press

"President Barack Obama urged Ethiopia's leaders Monday to curb crackdowns on press freedom and political openness as he began a visit that human rights groups say legitimizes an oppressive government," Darlene Superville reported for the Associated Press.

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" 'When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful,' Obama said during a news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. . . ."

Superville also wrote, "Obama said he was frank in his discussions with Ethiopian leaders about the need to allow political opponents to operate freely. He also defended his decision to travel to the East African nation, comparing it to U.S. engagement with China, another nation with a poor human rights record.

" 'Nobody questions our need to engage with large countries where we may have differences on these issues,' he said. 'That's true with Africa as well.'

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"Ethiopia's prime minister defended his country's commitment to democracy.

"Our commitment to democracy is real — not skin deep," he said. Asked about his country's jailing of journalists, he said his country needed 'ethical journalism' and reporters that don't work with terrorist organizations.

"Ethiopia is the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Eritrea, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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"Ahead of Obama's arrival, the Ethiopian government released several journalists and bloggers it had been holding since April 2014 on charges of incitement and terrorism. Many others remain in detention. . . ."

Earlier, in Kenya, "In a speech capping off his two-day visit to his father's homeland, Obama also compared sexism in Kenya to Americans who hold on to the Confederate flag — which is frequently used as a symbol by US white supremacist groups," Lily Kuo reported Sunday for Quartz Africa.

“ 'Every country and every culture has traditions that are unique and help make that country what it is, but just because something is part of your past doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t mean it defines your future,' he said.

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" 'Around the world there is a tradition of oppressing women and treating them differently and not giving them the same opportunities, and husbands beating their wives, and children not being sent to school. Those are traditions. Treating women and girls as second-class citizens. Those are bad traditions: they need to change.' . . ."

Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press: Chinese State Media Snipe at Obama's Africa Trip

George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: An Answer for Confederate [Apologists]

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Editorial, Chicago Tribune (misidentified): Obama to Ethiopia: What's at stake in trip to still-repressive nation

Alissa Greenberg, Time: Watch Obama Steal the Show by Dancing the Lipala During His Visit to Kenya

Suzette Hackney, Indianapolis Star: A racist symbol sold near hallowed IMS

Dan Joseph, Voice of America: Can Obama Influence Ethiopia on Human Rights, Democracy?

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Mohamed Keita, Twitter: Politico: How Not to cover Africa

Washington Post Examines Human Cost of Reporting

"The most famous television journalist in Pakistan lives like a fugitive. Hamid Mir tells no one where he is going, how he will get there or where he will spend the night," Idrees Ali and Dana Priest wrote Sunday for the Washington Post. It was the first installment "in an ongoing series examining the human cost of reporting the news around the world," an editor's note explained.

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Ali and Priest also wrote that Mir's caution stems from an attack on him as he was driven from the airport to the Karachi offices of Geo Television, the network that employs him.

"Six out of seven citizens have little or no access to insightful reporting about their governments even though the Internet has made other types of information ubiquitous, according to organizations that monitor reporting internationally," the reporters wrote.

"Worldwide, the last three years have been particularly hard on those who gather the news: An average of more than one journalist a week has been killed for reasons connected to his or her work, or about 205 journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that investigates attacks on the media.

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"This year, at least 38 more have been killed. The dead include eight Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris, a Brazilian radio broadcaster tortured and shot, an Indian reporter burned to death for investigating local corruption and a Japanese freelance photographer who was beheaded by the Islamic State in Syria. . . ."

Dana Priest, Deidre McPhillips and Katy June-Friesen, Washington Post: After Arab Spring, journalism briefly flowered and then withered

Spreading of Rumors in Sandra Bland Case Decried

"The apparent suicide of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old black woman found dead in a Texas jail cell after being wrestled out of her car and to the ground by a police officer who pulled her over, is exactly the sort of event that's going to generate speculation and, inevitably, rumors — it involves an emotionally and racially charged tragedy, has a bunch of missing pieces and facts, and comes at a time when a widespread, justifiable skepticism of law enforcement has taken hold," Jesse Singal wrote Monday for New York magazine.

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"It's no surprise that a couple weeks after story broke, all sorts of far-fetched conspiracy theories surrounding Bland's death and the police response to it are floating around.

"Those theories, which tend to spread the quickest on Twitter, were given a huge signal boost on Friday, when BuzzFeed ran an article by Ryan Broderick, a news reporter there, headlined 'People Are Speculating That Sandra Bland Was Already Dead When Authorities Took Her Mugshot.'

"Throughout the article, the mere existence of someone, somewhere tweeting a theory about Bland's death is treated as evidence that that theory is worth investigating, and then there's little to no follow-up as to whether there's any evidence supporting the theory in question. . . .

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Singal also wrote, "Compare that to USA Today’s coverage of the same claim. It's similarly irresponsible — it starts with almost 400 words of speculation from such forensic-science luminaries as 'the author known as Zane and reality show personality Judith Camille Jackson.' (Zane, we are told, noted on Facebook that 'I am big on looking into people's eyes and I don't see any life in hers.')

"But after that, bare-minimum journalistic due diligence is finally achieved: An actual forensic pathologist pops up to say that he sees nothing in the photo to suggest Bland is dead, and that you can't tell from a photo whether someone recently died anyway. In other words, there's no reason to believe Bland was dead when her mug shot was taken, other than that some people on Twitter decided she was.

"Whether or not big outlets like BuzzFeed report credulously on these stories matters a lot. Rumors are like viruses: They pop up in a given area and infect some people — people who believe them — and fail to infect nonbelievers. . . ."

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Charles M. Blow, New York Times: At Sandra Bland's Funeral, Celebration and Defiance

James Clingman, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Blackonomics: The Change We've Been Waiting for

Alexis Sobel Fitts, Huffington Post: Instagram Restricted Sandra Bland Hashtag To Block Hate Speech

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Jayme Fraser and Leah Binkovitz, Houston Chronicle: Waller DA assigns outside prosecutor, releases Sandra Bland toxicology report

Lonnae O'Neal, Washington Post: Sandra Bland video is deflating to so many

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Sandra Bland's mysterious arrest — and death

Sharda Sekaran, drugpolicy.org: Sandra Bland Marijuana Smear is Another Cheap Trick of Racist Drug War

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DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Sandra Bland's fate sealed by bad policing

WLS-TV, Chicago: Sandra Bland "Distraught," Neighboring Inmate Says

MSNBC Expected to Drop "Cycle," Wagner for Hard News

"NBC News Chairman Andy Lack — having resolved the Brian Williams flap, at least for the moment — is moving aggressively to fix the network news division's ratings-challenged corporate sibling, MSNBC," Lloyd Grove reported Friday for the Daily Beast.

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"The Daily Beast has confirmed reports that the Lack-ordered shakeup, the first of several contemplated for the troubled cable news outlet, will include the end of Ed Schultz’s left-leaning, labor-union-heavy 5 p.m. [The] Ed Show, to be replaced by Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, a non-ideological journalist who formerly hosted MSNBC's Daily Rundown.

"As Todd takes on his additional weekday duties, he will continue as NBC News political director and MTP host.

Grove also wrote, "In another expected reshuffling of MSNBC's daytime lineup, the period from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be devoted to straight news, meaning that opinion-driven shows such as The Cycle at 3 p.m. and Now With Alex Wagner at 4 p.m. are also likely to be dropped. . . . The fate of Al Sharpton's 6 p.m. Politics Nation program was also unclear — and perhaps even undecided — as Lack and [MSNBC President Phil] Griffin spoke to both network and cable news staffers at a staff-wide meeting on Thursday morning in the Saturday Night Live studio at 30 Rock. . . "

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ABC Brass Join in Tributes to Glennwood Branche

The New York-based top brass of ABC News joined about 250 others in Washington on Monday to hear Glennwood Branche, who joined ABC 40 years ago, praised as a family man and expert fisherman who loved planning, his faith and being part of the news business.

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Branche, who retired as vice president of operations at the ABC News bureau in Washington, died July 15 of leukemia. He was 62 and one of the first black journalists in television management.

"I imagine that being an African American man at ABC over the last 40 years was not without its challenges," Robin V. Sproul, an ABC News vice president, said in her remarks at Washington's 19th Street Baptist Church.

"I know some of that struggle, revealed in the most private of conversations behind closed doors, but will never know all of it. I know that there was always a prevailing sense of 'other' in his corporate life, one that he accepted as part of the times in which he lived. I saw him work hard to mentor other minorities at the company, as much as he was able. He did what he could.

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"I saw a particular pride he had in covering the election in 2008. In the hospital recently he told me about watching President Obama's speech in South Carolina and how deeply it moved him. He was paying close attention to the national discussions being led by people like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Charles Blow, and he followed the many social media threads talking about race in America. He would want us all to continue having those discussions and I believe in my heart that he had hope in the ways the country — and corporations — will continue to evolve. . . ."

Among the current and former ABC employees in attendance were ABC News President James Goldston; Tom Cibrowski, senior vice president, ABC News Programs, News Gathering and Special Events; Kerry Smith and Bob Murphy, senior vice presidents; Barbara Fedida, senior vice president for talent and business; Pierre Thomas, correspondent; Cokie Roberts, commentator; former correspondent Michel Martin, former deputy Washington bureau chief A'Lelia Bundles; and former senior producer Lynne Adrine.

Participating in the service were multiple-Grammy nominee Richard Smallwood and his group Vision. On Sunday, Smallwood dominated the cover of the Washington Post Magazine, where he was described by Keith L. Alexander as having "done what no other gospel artist arguably has done as successfully: blend gospel with classical music."

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Sproul's prepared remarks, in full, are below in the Maynard Institute's Comments section.

W Magazine Devotes Spread to Models of Color

"It's rare, even today, to see a mainstream fashion magazine dedicate an entire spread to models of color," Joy Sewing reported Friday for the Houston Chronicle.

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"So, fashion journalists are buzzing over W Magazine's August fall fashion issue that features six black models: Ajak Deng, Amilna Estevao, Anais Mali, Aya Jones, Binx Walton and Tami Williams.

"All are wearing either Afros or natural hair.

"Maybe times are changing.

"The August issue of Teen Vogue also features three black models on the cover for its 'Fashion's New Faces' spread."

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Coates Book Debuts at No. 1 on N.Y. Times Nonfiction List

Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book "Between the World and Me" debuts on the New York Times best seller list for Aug. 2 at No. 1 in the Hardcover Nonfiction category.

It is also No. 1 in the Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction category.

With the exception of Malcolm Gladwell of the New Yorker, black journalists rarely reach the top position on the best-seller list. Coates is national correspondent for the Atlantic.

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The book continues to prompt debate.

Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, wrote Friday for Huffington Post, "Through deeply personal stories and reflections, Ta-Nehisi Coates's new book 'Between the World and Me' provides essential perspective into a critical topic: violence against black people. The book's primary shortcoming is that it fails to offer any real vision or policy solutions. Indeed, the book effectively counsels black people to disengage from the policy process — which would only make the violence worse. . . ."

Greg M. Epstein, who told readers that "for the past 11 years, I have worked as a chaplain for atheists and agnostics, at Harvard University and beyond," reviewed the book Monday for Salon.

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"Crafting a powerful narrative about white Americans — or, as he says, those of us who need to think we are white — who are living The Dream — Coates makes a profound statement of what is, and is not, good, with or without god.

"Coates refers not to Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, not quite even to the 'American Dream,' but rather to The Dream in which we forget our history, our identity and much of our nation's prosperity is built on the foundation of the suffering of people of color in general and black people in particular. The Dream, in other words, is not a state in which only Fox News Watchers find themselves. It is a state that can cancel out the very best of white, liberal, humanist intentions. . . ."

Guy Emerson Mount, African American Intellectual History Society: Ta-Nehisi Coates, David Brooks, and the Master Narrative of American History

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Touré, "The Cycle," MSNBC: A must for your summer reading list (video)

Photographer Captures "Sea Slaves" in Southeast Asia

"Although Adam Dean had photographed for The New York Times in Southeast Asia before, he was excited to work with Ian Urbina on part of his investigative series, 'The Outlaw Ocean,' "Beth Flynn wrote Monday for the Times' "Lens" blog.

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"He saw it as an opportunity to dig into a story and spend some time trying to find out what was really going in the violent, unregulated world of fishing boats in international waters.

"The resulting article, " ''Sea Slaves': The Human Misery That Feeds Pets and Livestock,' details the stories of fishermen who have fled forced labor. He spoke recently with the deputy picture editor Beth Flynn about his experiences on the project. . . ."

Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason, Associated Press: AP Exclusive: AP tracks slave boats to Papua New Guinea

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Short Takes

"A bipartisan group of members of Congress led by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., has called on Defense Secretary Ash Carter to apologize to American veterans who were used in race-based chemical weapons experiments," Caitlin Dickerson reported Thursday for NPR. "Their letter comes in response to a recent NPR Investigation into the tests, which were conducted during World War II. . . ."

Tawnell Hobbs, who writes about Dallas schools, Al Dia writer Julian Resendiz and financial writer Pamela Yip are among candidates for buyouts at the Dallas Morning News, Teresa Gubbins reported Friday for CultureMap Dallas. "Editor Mike Wilson described the buyouts as part of an effort to make the newsroom more digitally minded, saying that the staffers who left would be replaced with 'outstanding digital journalists'. . . ."

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A celebrated May 10 New York Times story on nail salons concluded "not just that some salons or even many salons steal wages from their workers but that virtually all of them do," Richard Bernstein, a former Times reporter and a part owner of two Manhattan day-spas, wrote Saturday for the New York Review of Books. ". . . This depiction of the business didn't correspond with what we have experienced over the past twelve years. But far more troubling, as we discovered when we began to look into the story's claims and check its sources, was the flimsy and sometimes wholly inaccurate information on which those sweeping conclusions were based. . . ."

"The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship at Spelman College has been discontinued and related funds have been returned to the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation," said Spelman spokesperson Audrey Arthur in a statement to USA TODAY on Friday, Andrea Mandell reported for USA Today. Meanwhile, Victor Fiorillo of Philadelphia magazine reported Thursday that the New York Times turned down his request to publish in full Cosby's deposition in a case brought by Andrea Constand, a young Temple University employee who claimed that Cosby drugged and sexually molested her in the early 2000s.

"The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) will honor acclaimed Telemundo journalist and MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart, with the NAHJ Presidential Award of Visibility at the 'Hall of Fame & Honors' Luncheon Presented by Toyota in Orlando on Saturday, September 19th," NAHJ announced on Monday. The award recognizes "Díaz-Balart's unwavering commitment to journalism, the pursuit of the truth and his accurate and fair representation of Latinos in coverage. . . ."

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"Soul of the South is attempting to turn its operations around amid a host of legal and financial issues facing the company," Sean Beherec reported Monday for Arkansas Business. "The fledgling television network is the subject of at least two lawsuits in federal court and has been notified it owes $250,000 on a loan from the state. But at least one board member says he is hopeful that good things are in the works.. . ."

"This past weekend, South Africa's biggest media group, Naspers, did something it should have done 19 years ago: apologize for the key role it played during Apartheid, Sibusiso Tshabalala reported Monday for Quartz Africa. "While the apology, delivered by a senior executive, Esmarè Weideman, took many by surprise, it did little to shed light on how Naspers — now Africa's largest media company with a market value of over $60 billion — was complicit in upholding South Africa’s system of Apartheid. . . ."